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The nomads depicted live according to premisses, that know no national borders. Communities can on the one hand form alliances and on the other hand produce rivalry causing so called cattle raids, the stealing of livestock, or even deaths. Most of the indigenous tribes have a language of their own, that is not understood by their neighbouring groups. Bearing testimony to territorial laws, the changing anthroposphere faces an increasing amount of natural modification. Most of the nomads are herdsmen, only very few of them, such as the Hadza, are still hunters. They are dependent on ecological factors, that can hardly be satisfied anymore. Herdsmen need to reduce their herds in order to survive the droughts, such as in the Danakil Depression in the Afar Triangle. The effects of globalisation and global warming, of social inequality and warfare have an immense impact on the peoples natural habitat. I portray nomads far aside from the rapidly modernising African urban life, marginalized by their respective states, organizsed independently in the periphery. Hunters are being banned from their lands, because the traditional hunt, that they are depentdent on, does not comply with current standards of wildlife and nature conservation. The clash of local codes and the state law, such as the prohibition of nomadic life, as experienced by the Batwa, can lead to violent conflicts of many kinds. They prove exemplary for the complexity of progress management and the great unbalance between rural and urban development.

Winfried Bullinger, Interview Issue Magazine

At first sight the various tribes seem to exhibit only relatively minor differences; sometimes there are ethnic characteristics, and sometimes the nature of the place where they live and work seems to determine their appearance. The Hadza are hunters and this can be seen in their clothing, into which leather, fur and feathers have been worked. The Nyangatom are very likely to carry a weapon, as are the Suri and the Afar. The real power of this portrait series, however, lies in the opportunity it provides to allow us (as globalists) to stand eye to eye with representatives of traditional, self-contained communities; small, rural economies that provide just the simplest of tools. These encounters allow us to traverse not just distance and culture but also time. […] The portraits offer no solutions to the geopolitical or resource-based conflicts in which these tribal people have become embroiled, but what they do show is their natural poise, their self-awareness, and the matter-of-factness with which they are connected to the landscape. This is due in part to the emphasis with which Bullinger silhouettes his subjects against the landscape, giving the work a strongly sculptural quality. But the most impressive attribute of these portraits is the self-awareness and natural ease (a certain reserve notwithstanding) that radiates from every one. Today, nomads stand both for an old world and a new one.

Els Barents

As Césaire noted in 1955 in his Discourse on Colonialism, if we today construe Europe without Africa and do not embark on a policy of nationalities that respect peoples and cultures and and posits humanity as an identity beyond race, then Europe will not survive. Today this statement seems even more compelling than ever. „At the edges of power“ refers to the place of the people we see here in theses photographs, on a path between global conflicts fought locally. Here, however, we come up against the frame into which humanity has forces itself. It is by no means a hopeless undertaking to try and get people to come to an understanding with other people, and Winfried Bullinger’s oeuvre is destined to support people along the way.

Hubertus von Amelunxen, At the Edges of Power